With speeches here and interviews there, let’s face it: All that ever sticks with us are sound bites — short, 10-second remarks that get straight to the point. In politics, there are obviously quite a few notable ones: President Barack Obama’s “We are the change we’ve been waiting for;” Richard Nixon’s “I’m not a crook;” George W. Bush’s “We’ve found the weapons of mass destruction;” and, of course, Bill Clinton’s “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”
Likewise, in Hollywood the sound bite works just as nicely and holds just as much power and influence. Back in 2001, the everyday MTV viewer gawked at a maturing Britney Spears when she boldly proclaimed, “I’m not a little girl anymore.” In 2005, the media and the American public latched on to Tom Cruise’s manic “I’m in love” couch confession on the most bizarre episode of the Oprah Winfrey Show to date. And two years later, audiences rolled their eyes as a teary-eyed Tyra Banks defensively told the tabloids, “Kiss my fat ass!” after they poked fun at her weight gain.
In every scenario, unsurprisingly, an outpour of media attention resulted — all from just a quick, snappy little one-liner.
Tinseltown’s newest “it” girl, actress Megan Fox, has also apparently mastered the craft, producing a sound bite last week that made headlines across every major news outlet.
With a calculated coyness and self-aware bi-curiosity, Fox, who was promoting her upcoming new film Jennifer’s Body, admitted of her on-screen kiss with co-star Amanda Seyfried, “I feel much safer with girls, so I felt more comfortable kissing her in the movie than kissing any of the other people that I had to kiss.”
In the interview, Fox also made sure not to forget to mention the “laughing and giggling fits” she and Seyfried shared “in-between takes.”
Wait. Megan Fox. Kissing. Giggling fits. OK, OK, you’ve got our attention.
While Fox intelligently enticed her typical, lascivious male fan to pay a ridiculous 13 bucks at the Grove to see the flick (and he will), her tongue-in-cheek admission does more than serve as a sexually charged marketing strategy.
Rather, it follows a pattern of sexualized female stars eager to garner media attention, fame and box office dollars at the cost of exploiting a social community that is currently fighting to be taken more seriously.
Fox, a drop-dead knockout all her own, has exhausted her own good-looking self-promotion and has moved on to using the idea of lesbianism as a crutch. It sells, and Fox isn’t the only one guilty.
In the latest episode of the E! reality show Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami, LA celebutante Kourtney Kardashian also plays the rating game, as she drunkenly leans on a lesbian at a Miami nightclub and (with calculated self-awareness) eventually kisses her, only to regret her actions later, saying, “I’m so embarrassed.”
Surely though, the producers of the popular program aren’t regretting a thing. The people at E! are probably sitting pretty with stupid grins on their faces, predicting a huge ratings boost any minute now.
And there’s Katy Perry, whose “I Kissed A Girl” mega-anthem brought bisexuality and faux lesbianism to the forefront of mainstream music, commanding the top spot last summer on the Billboard Hot 100 for a total of seven consecutive weeks. While the song was critically and commercially successful, music magazine Rolling Stone blasted Perry for abusing “chick-on-chick exploits” in an insensitive effort to push records and more explicitly, “get a dude’s attention.”
Simply, in Hollywood, the young models for today’s culture — sadly, Fox, Kardashian and Perry — demonstrate that lesbian lifestyles are synonymous with playful promiscuity (both on and off screen), intoxicated flirting and wild cross-gender experimentation.
What? It’s not all about pillow fights, feathers flying around and girls in their underwear? Katy Perry, you tricked us.
Awareness is one positive result that can be attributed to Fox and Perry’s unashamed, barefaced “art,” as they bring the unconventional issue to the entertainment platform. However, for the lesbian community to gain legitimate respect and move forward with their social movement, Hollywood-generated imagery has to adopt a more inclusive appeal and move away from the needs of its current greatest consumer: the average, 20-year-old male college student.
Fox’s trivializing sound bite, though certainly not completely ill-intentioned, is another road block. Today’s perceptions hurt Fox’s own famous friends, such as actress Lindsay Lohan and DJ Samantha Ronson, who have shared an on-and-off-again romantic relationship for more than a year.
Though Lohan once spoke candidly of her relationship with Ronson with openly gay comedian Ellen DeGeneres on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, the speculation of its validity is ongoing. Whether it’s real or fake, who knows — the idea of Lohan in relationship with another woman sounds so unbelievably far-fetched because of the sensationalized view of lesbians other Hollywood starlets have worked to create.
People aren’t buying it, and they can’t be blamed for that. They point the finger at another attention-hungry fembot eager to swap spit with her beautiful clone to sign a movie deal. The new fad picked up by Fox and others has made it incredibly difficult for some women, including Lohan and Ronson, to speak the truth.
In Fox’s new movie, she plays a monster that runs rampant eating all her male classmates. Now that’s a sound bite.
Christopher Agutos is a junior majoring in public relations. His column, “Pop Life,” runs Tuesdays.